POLITICS

Thousands more public-sector jobs than planned to be cut, watchdog says

04/17/2014 01:20 EDT | Updated 06/17/2014 05:59 EDT
Canada’s budget watchdog says the federal public service has already lost more jobs than expected and projects thousands more cuts.

The Parliamentary Budget Officer’s Quarterly Expenditure Report, dated April 11, said more than 20,000 full-time federal public-service jobs have been cut since March 2010.

The federal government had previously said it would cut some 19,000 jobs.

Canada’s assistant parliamentary budget officer said the PBO's analysis shows it won’t end there.

“We looked at the reports of plans and priorities of government agencies over the next three years,” said Mostafa Askari.

“It's about 8,900 extra positions that will be reduced over that period.”

These current and future reductions would put the total population of the federal public service at around the same levels as 2006-07.

Prof wonders about hoarding money

David Zussman, a University of Ottawa public-service management professor, said the federal government hasn’t shared more details on where these cuts will take place in the future.

He also said the federal government appears to be hoarding some money.

“The government has been systematically underspending. They're actually not spending the money allocated,” he said.

“If it's improper to spend more than you're allocated. Is it proper to spend less than you're allocated?”

Robyn Benson, national president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, said the future cuts are news to her.

“I think it will be very problematic for Canadians,” she said.

“I think they're losing trust in this government... They were suppose to ensure Canadians were safe; safe on the waterways, consuming food, in the air, the list goes on.”

The PBO report said the government saved about $168 million on “personnel” in the last nine months of 2014 compared to the same time last year, a 0.6 per cent decrease in spending.

The Treasury Board of Canada, which manages the operations of the federal government, did not respond to a request for comment by deadline.